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Public Communication: Awards and Achievements Archive

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2010 PRSSA Conference

PC Professor Gemma Puglisi with her students at the 2010 PRSSA Conference. Check out photos from the conference.

SOC Assistant Professor Gemma Puglisi
PR Class Makes Headlines

Seniors in Professor Gemma Puglisi's public relations class made headlines in the Washington Post on an event they held in Anacostia. Read More

AU Student Named As Student of the Year Finalist

SOC student Brianna Kelley was named as a finalist of PRWeek's Student of the Year award with the possibility of winning $5,000, a paid internship at Hill & Knowlton, and the opportunity to attend the PRWeek Awards 2012. Congratulations Brianna!

SOC Matt Nisbet

Prof quoted in the Associated Press

Professor Matt Nisbet was quoted in the Associated Press commenting on how social networking sites affect the 2012 race. Read More

SOC Tech Talk logo (tAUk)

Tech tAUk SOC Faculty, Students

A special episode of AUTV's "Tech tAUk" focused on the AU Social Media Club's Social Learning Summit, featuring interviews with several SOC students and faculty members. Learn more


Frito-Lay Director of PR Speaks to Comm Class

Chris Kuechenmeister, Director of Public Relations for Frito-Lay North America was the guest speaker in professor Pallavi Kumar's COMM301 Public Relations class. He guest lectured for an hour and a half sharing the Doritos Superbowl Challenge case study and the Tostitos Reunion Campaign.

SOC Professor Selected as Research Fellow by USC

Associate Professor Rhonda Zaharna was selected as a research fellow by the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School. The Center is the recognized leader in the emerging field of public diplomacy and the competition for the 2-year research fellowship was intense and international. The goal of her project, “Exploring the Cultural Underbelly of Public Diplomacy,” was to stimulate greater awareness and knowledge of how culture influences public diplomacy and help generate multicultural perspectives of public diplomacy. It includes a research monograph and a monthly interactive blog/discussion forum hosted on the Center's website. Read More 

Kathryn Montgomery, professor of communication

Quoted in NY Times

Professor Kathryn Montgomery tells The New York Times Business Day that food marketing now woven into fabric of kids' lives. Read more

AUTV's Tech tAUk SOC Faculty, Students

A special episode of AUTV's "Tech tAUk" focused on the AU Social Media Club's Social Learning Summit.  The show featured interviews and appearances with several SOC students and faculty members including Alex Priest, Scott Talan, and Caty Borum Chatoo.

SOC Matt Teper

Only in Washington: Students Get First-Hand Analysis of Presidential Speech 

Students in professors Bob Lehrman and Eric Schnure's speechwriting course experienced an “only in Washington” classroom opportunity. They invited Matt Teper, principal White House speechwriter for Vice President Biden to speak on President Obama’s speech on Libya. “He was great,” said Lehrman, who in the 90’s had Teper’s job, writing for then Vice President Al Gore, where he worked with Schnure, a Gore speechwriter as well. "He answered our questions for an hour. Then he hung around during the speech and took part in the discussion afterwards.”    Teper, who wrote speeches for a variety of nonprofits—and was the blogger for Rock the Vote in 2004 before winning the Biden job, hadn’t worked on the speech. But he’d seen the early drafts, and read it on his Blackberry before class in case there were things to point out. Teper seemed to be able to handle every question from the 34-member mix of grad and undergrad students, until SOC Senior Staci Cox asked him to tell the class about his “biggest mistake.” “Wow,” Teper said, “I mean, I’ve made hundreds.” Promising to get back to her, he took till the end of class before, true to his word, owning up to one. Teper's visit excited the class. “It was really remarkable,” said SPA Senior Jacqueline Grill ‘011. “To see someone so close [to our] age doing such amazing work.” "I don't think Matt was prepared to be treated like a rock star," Schnure said afterwards. "But he warmed up to it."

Robert R. McCormick Foundation logo

McCormick Grants Opens Opportunity for Political Reporting Specialized Training Session

Thanks to a $35,000 grant from McCormick Foundation, SOC will host a Specialized Training Institute on Political Reporting June 17-18 at American University.  Twenty reporters from around the country will attend to learn best practices in covering poll results, methodology and how to mine data.  Professors Dotty Lynch and Maria Ivancin will present.  Mark Mellman, just chosen "Pollster of the Year" by American Association of Political Consultants, will be the opening luncheon speaker.  Read more

Undergrad Gets Fellowship With PPIA

PC student Ty Tillett (BA'12) was accepted into the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship. He will be studying public policy and law at the University of California at Berkeley this summer. The program has opened opportunities for him to further his knowledge of public policy and will also help fund his graduate education, up to and including full tuition plus a stipend at many of the top public policy programs in the country.

Prof. Quoted in CQ

Professor Gemma Puglisi was quoted in Congressional Quarterly about President Obama’s State of the Union address and the White House’s use of Twitter. During his speech, the White House tweeted quotes as Obama was speaking. Furthermore, according to a study, Obama’s speech also scored the lowest on ‘readability’ level. Read more

SOC Bob Lehrman vertical

Prof Quoted on Ragan.com

Bob Lerhman, an SOC adjunct and former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, called President Obama's speech in Tucson "brilliant" in an article featured on Ragan.com. "For the record," he wrote, "this was an immensely skillful speech, written, delivered and orchestrated with equal skill." Read more

Professor Lauren Feldman appeared on CNN to discuss late night TV's impact on the Presidential election.

Prof Quoted in New York Times

In a recent article in the New York Times about the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear and what it means to the attendees, Professor Lauren Feldman is quoted providing analysis based on her research in the area of political entertainment. Read more

Leonard Steinhorn

Prof Interviewed on WTTG- Fox 5

Public Communication Professor Lenny Steinhorn was interviewed on WTTG-FOX 5 about recent national primary election results and what it means for November. “When the Alaska senator lost her primary to a Tea Party candidate, and people started wondering if this could happen elsewhere, well it did happen in Delaware,” he said about the Tea Party's sudden surge of popularity. Download file

Prof Quoted in Wall Street Journal

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal concerning online privacy being worse on popular children’s websites, Professor Katharine Montgomery was quoted for her suggestion that clearer explanations of what’s happening to people’s online are needed, instead of using the legal jargon that obscures what privacy policies are saying. Read more

Awesome Washingtonian Competes for Miss Chinese American

Serena Linn, public communication MA candidate, was named Awesome Washingtonian of the Day by the Awesome DC blog. She is also competing for the title Miss Chinese American. She hopes to use the title to foster greater cultural exchange between China and the U.S. The event is Sept 17th at the Strathmore.

Michael Kempner

Awards Just Keep Coming for SOC Alum

The awards and honors keep rolling in for SOC alum Michael Kempner. He is the president and CEO of MWW Group, which recently won the 2010 Golden Bridge Award for Best Midsized PR Agency of the Year. MWW Group was also honored by the Holmes Report, a leading independent publication dedicated to reporting on the public relations industry, as "2009 Strategic Public Relations Agency of the Year." Kempner was inducted into the PR News Hall of Fame at the 2009 PR People Awards. Read more

SOC Assistant Professor Gemma Puglisi

Prof weighs in on the Real Housewives of D.C.

Prof Gemma Puglisi voiced her opinion of the Real Housewives of D.C. in an article on Roll Call, a D.C.-centric online publication. She doesn't believe that the show represents the true hardworking people of D.C. and is therefore, irrelevant. Read more

Prof Profiled in The Eagle

Prof. Pallavi Kumar was profiled in American University's student run newspaper The Eagle. Kumar was also featured in an article on the online journal The Georgetown Dish. Check it out or Read more from The Eagle

Alumna on "The Apprentice"

Kelly Smith Beaty who received her master's in Public Communication at SOC, will appear in the latest season of the popular reality show "The Apprentice". Read more

Prof Uses "Creative Publishing" With New Book

Prof. Steve Piacente released Bella, a Washington, D.C.-based novel that explores the power of temptation, the futility of revenge, and the consequences of yielding to either. Bella tracks the story of Isabel Moss’ fierce quest to uncover the truth behind her husband’s death on an Afghan battlefield and her relationship with reporter Dan Patragno. As Dan gets further into the story, he becomes personally involved with his source, violating one of the cardinal tenets of journalism and risking his career and family. Piacente serves as Deputy Communications Director at one of the nation’s largest federal agencies in addition to being an adjunct at SOC. Read more

The logo for the annual PRSSA National Conference.

AU Co-Hosted 2010 PRSSA National Conference

The AU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America was awarded the chance to co-host the 2010 PRSSA National Conference from Oct. 15-19 with Howard University and the University of Maryland. The National Conference is the PRSSA’s largest annual event and attracts over 1000 students each year from universities around the country for five days of networking, professional development workshops, competitions and more.

SOC Undergrad Wins Study Abroad Scholarship

925 students applied; only 138 were chosen, and SOC undergrad Amanda Osborn was one of them.  The Boren Undergraduate Scholarship is granting Amanda to study abroad in Beijing, China in AU's Abroad program.  The scholarship awards up $20,000 to undergraduates who are studying abroad in countries critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad.  Learn more

Photo of Truman Scholar Kelsey Stefanik-Sidener

Student Named 2010 Harry S. Truman Scholar

Kelsey Stefanik-Sidener, a junior political science major with a minor in communication, has been named a 2010 Harry S. Truman Scholar. The Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 toward a graduate education leading to a career in public service. Kelsey is one of 60 Truman Scholars selected from a nationwide pool of 576 candidates. Kelsey intends to pursue graduate training in law and public health in preparation for a career in health law, communications, and advocacy. Read more

Exploring Baby Boomer's Spirituality

According to public communications professor Leonard Steinhorn, members of the baby boomer generation approach religion as a guide to a spiritual meaning and connection in their own personal way. “They have always tried to figure out what works for them,” Steinhorn told the Miami Herald. “They've been looking for a place to hang their spiritual or religious hat since the 1960s.”

Logo for Ogilvy PR.

Logo for Ogilvy PR.

SOC Alum to Lead Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide North American Consumer Marketing Practice

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is an integrated global communications firms operating in more than 70 markets.  On March 9, 2010, the firm announced that SOC Alum Bill Reihl has been appointed to Executive Vice President/Head of the agency's North American Consumer Marketing practice.  Reihl has been with Ogilvy PR for more than five years, working domestically and internationally. 
Learn more

Kathryn Montgomery
Technology Creates Focus on a New Generation

Kathryn Montgomery, a communication professor, talked about the emergence of an even younger generation reliant on modern technology with USA Today. "[My students] tell me their younger siblings have different relationships with these technologies," she said. "[They're growing up with expectations of always being present in a social way — always being available to peers wherever you are."

Students Need Science Literacy, Says Prof

When it comes to explaining the climate change debate to children Lauren Feldman, communications professor, suggests that educators start with breaking down science and policy terms.“One thing that could be effective that is in large part missing from school curricula is a science-literacy component—teaching kids how to interpret science and scientific policy information in media and how to make sense of it,” she told Philadelphia Weekly.

Gemma Puglisi, professor of communication

Profs Speak Out in Irish Times Article

On March 27 the Irish Times published an online article concerning death row inmate Troy Davis. The Irish Times published an online article concerning the controversial case of death row inmate Troy Davis quoting both professors Gemma Puglisi and Richard Stack. Read more

Alum's Work in SOC Helps Land Job

PC alum Melanie Roussell told Politico that her graduate work on crisis communication at SOC helped her land a job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Read more

Public Communication Program Students Pursue PhDs

Paola Pascual-Ferra and Tyler Solloway who are headed in the fall to PhD programs in Communication at the University of Miami and Ohio State University, respectively. Paola is a 2008 graduate of SOC's Public Communication MA program and currently an assistant professor. Tyler is currently a student in the Public Communciation Program.